Leinster v Ulster: Leo Cullen wary of the threat underdogs Ulster bring to Dublin

Ross Byrne
Ross Byrne
Share this article

Leinster head coach, Leo Cullen, is taking nothing for granted as his side prepare for another European Champions Cup quarter-final on Saturday.

Provincial rivals Ulster come to the Aviva Stadium as underdogs to face the defending champions.

Ulster are making their first appearance in the last eight since 2014, while Leinster are seeking to win the eighth of their now nine quarter-final appearances in the competition.

They have not lost a home game in Europe at this stage since 2005, but there is no doubt as holders and being regarded as one of the best club sides in Europe they have a target on their back.

Cullen said: “We are very, very wary because again you talk about some of the threats that they have.

“Jacob Stockdale could come up with a big moment where he could get on the outside and chip ball over the top and we might think one of our defenders is going to get it, and suddenly the ball kicks straight into his hands, he beats another defender and he’s under the posts.

“Or they come up with another big play with some of the other big players they have, someone like Marcel Coetzee can cause us a lot of problems at the breakdown if we allow him the space or the referee isn’t entirely diligent where he’s got his elbows on the ground and still winning penalties,” smiled Cullen.

The Leinster boss added: “We need to make sure we’re well aware of the threats that are there and how we can actually counter-act them.

“So for us, that’s the way we try to prepare for all the eventualities that may occur in the game and that’s trying to give us the best chance and trying to nullify the threats of the opposition.

“The players have worked hard in putting the plan together, in conjunction with us as coaches and hopefully it’s nice and clear by now because we need to get a lot right for us to have the chance of winning the game.”

As for the loss of Jonathan Sexton yesterday, Cullen described it as a “little niggle to his leg” and they were not prepared to risk him.

“Johnny just had a bit of tightness this week,” Cullen explained. “He played a lot of games in the Six Nations. He’s okay. Ross has gone well in some of the games he has played this year as well. We didn’t take any chances there but he should be okay soon.

Asked to elaborate on Sexton’s injury, the head coach added: “It’s a little niggle. It’s a muscle on his leg, I’m not quite sure what it’s called. It’s prudent to rest him because we hopefully have some more big games to come as well.”